‘Some people have no common sense’: Police warn enforcing guidelines could be ‘impossible’
PUBLISHED: 12:59 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:10 11 May 2020
Enforcing new looser lockdown guidelines could prove “impossible” when some people have shown they “don’t have much common sense”, Norfolk Police Federation has warned.
Announcing an easing of restrictions, Boris Johnson said that from Wednesday people will be able to spend more time outdoors, sitting or sunbathing in parks, unlimited exercise and playing sports with people from the same household.
MORE: Can I see my family? All you need to know about the new lockdown rules
Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation, which represents officers in the county, said clear guidance was needed on how the looser measures will be policed.
“I am hoping that within the new guidance it is extremely clear, though I have my doubts because the last guidelines really left us trying to interpret it,” he said.
“It has now got to the position where it is almost impossible for us to try to police these things.
“All we want is clarity. Whether it is a case of us taking a step back and allowing people to self-police. It puts us in an invidious position without any proper guidance.
“We could be relying on people’s common sense when some people have shown they don’t have much common sense. We have seen that in small parts of the community with the number of fixed penalty notices that we have had to issue to people not adhering to the current guidance.”
Over the bank holiday weekend hundreds of people flocked to beaches and open spaces in the county, with Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey saying some told his officers they thought lockdown was over.
He said: “The really disappointing thing is that hundreds of people have travelled, in some cases considerable distances, to spend the afternoon on the beach. After having arrived, social distancing just disappeared.”
MORE: ‘They thought lockdown was over’- police chief’s concerns after hundreds head to beaches
The new looser guidelines means households will be able to drive to other destinations such as parks and beaches, but social distancing rules - keeping at least two metres away from people outside your household - must still be followed.
Lockdown fines will rise to £100 on Wednesday. But the first fine someone receives if police believe they are flouting the restrictions on movement amid the coronavirus outbreak will be lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days, according to the Home Office.
Fines will double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.
Mr Symonds said: “How are we going to be able to police it? That is the big question mark and that is the frustration of police officers.
“We are the bad guys in this for small parts of the community. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”